Jump to content


  • Post count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


leicsmac last won the day on 25 March 2017

leicsmac had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

2,165 Excellent

About leicsmac

Profile Information

  • Gender

Recent Profile Visitors

6,290 profile views
  1. Champions League 2017/18

    Frustrating, isn't it?
  2. Politics Thread (encompassing Brexit) - 21 June 2017 onwards

    Mentioned this in the past, annoyed that it hasn't been thought through. https://www.ft.com/content/f2440686-47ce-11e8-8ae9-4b5ddcca99b3 As part of its rearguard actions to reverse the EU’s decision, Britain is preparing to block the approval of procurement for the next batch of Galileo satellites, designed as a rival to the Pentagon’s GPS system, at a Berlin meeting of the European Space Agency council on Wednesday. The plan must be approved unanimously by ESA member states. A previous vote was postponed at the last minute in March as the row over UK involvement in the secure elements of Galileo spiralled. A UK government official warned that if the vote went ahead, “we will vote against”. Ministers are also looking at whether the UK could respond by refusing to let the EU use ground stations for Galileo in two British overseas territories, the Falkland Islands and Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, has said the Galileo project “needs to be prepared for Brexit”. While Brussels is excluding UK companies from being involved in developing its sensitive infrastructure, the EU insists UK use of the highly-encrypted part of the Galileo system is open to negotiation. “The EU cannot share security-relevant proprietary information with countries outside the EU,” Mr Barnier said. “But there are of course ways Galileo can co-operate with third countries and these are open to the UK as well.” In a letter to the European Commission last week, Mr Clark hinted that the UK would take tough action if Brussels did not back down on barring UK access to Galileo’s secure elements. He said Britain hosted “infrastructure” for Galileo services, adding he hoped the UK could “continue to do so” under an EU security partnership. He called for a three-month freeze on procurement early this week, just before final bids were due for a contract to manage Galileo’s ground control services. An Airbus spokesman acknowledged the company’s commitment to shift its ground control services work to the EU post-Brexit “puts 100 jobs in Portsmouth at risk”. Other bidders also confirmed to the Financial Times that they had made the same commitment. Mr Clark said the government would “continue to work with the UK space sector on this issue and through our modern industrial strategy will ensure the UK can realise the opportunities of the commercial space age”. Tension has risen in recent days after the commission refused to back down despite repeated entreaties by London, which has urged a post-Brexit security and defence treaty with the EU. “They’re playing hardball,” said one senior UK government official. “We’re looking at a range of options, but unless they back down, we will withdraw from Galileo. We are scoping the possibility of launching our own system.” Although Britain’s defence budget is already strained, ministers are studying the possibility of pooling existing resources to create a lower-cost GPS rival. They are also looking at whether the UK could work with the US to create a complementary and highly secure system akin to Galileo’s Public Regulated Service, the highly-encrypted part that is designed to continue operating even if other navigation systems are jammed. The UK armed forces were planning to use Galileo to supplement its use of the US GPS system, which remains under the control of Washington. The US, which initially opposed the development of Galileo, is now negotiating access to PRS, as is Norway. Industry officials said the government is giving serious consideration to UK-designed alternatives, which could be cheaper than the “Rolls-Royce” approach taken by Galileo. The UK is already providing some of the most crucial technology including ground control, navigation payloads and encryption. “We have the expertise,” said one senior executive. David Davis, Brexit secretary, is also said by colleagues to be “furious” over the commission’s stance, while Olly Robbins, the UK’s Brexit negotiator, held frosty discussions with his counterparts in Brussels last week.
  3. Driver mows pedestrians down in Toronto

    Here's hoping not - the last thing that is needed right now is that double standard being reinforced in a court of law.
  4. North Korea

    Fair enough, put "educated" in front of "guess" if you will, it still means that those involved can't be sure about the way things will pan out in terms of lives lost. WWII (as you keep referring to, are there many other examples of reasonably fully justified wars in terms of body count?) was an example ever the Allied powers did consider that leaving the Axis powers alone would cost more lives than jumping in to stop them...And hey, they were (probably) right once the full extent of the plans for the Holocaust were known. Justified war, carried out, well done. History judges them (rightfully) well, as it judges more harshly those who went to war and got it wrong. I don't think pacifism is a utopian ideal at all (unachievable as it may be); my view on it is much more utilitarian, viz. the more humanity wars and the more we advance the tech used for it, the higher the probability of something catastrophic occurring. If someone offered a convincing argument that war actually lowered the chances of that occurring, then it be all for it. Morality doesn't come into it in any way; that's totally subjective. IMO (and I know folks might disagree here) evil is just a name for what people do, not what they are. No one is born like it, for instance. Murdering in the name of your own self interest is certainly an evil act, but that's hardly unique to NK on the geopolitical field, is it? I guess this all comes down to how we view the world: correct me if I'm wrong, but for you there must always be "sides", polarisation, good and evil etc, as there will always be those looking to abuse their power in various ways as that's just human nature. I think that's true now, but it doesn't have to be for all time, and if it is...well, we've failed as a species.
  5. North Korea

    Agree with the semantics part here, really. My own views on Trump and his administration are abundantly clear but I can't see how the NK development would have happened much differently with any other person in charge so I can't find fault on this one.
  6. President Trump & the USA

    TBH I wasn't the one who brought up their relationship as a negative in the first place, so I'm not quite sure what we're debating here? Is it a good thing or a bad thing or somewhere in between, in your view? (My own take being that hobnobbing with Trump and trying to play good cop is a good idea in principle in order to limit his excesses but I'm not seeing much effect on policy in practice.) Regarding if Hillary (or most other Dem candidates) was there instead, I think that it's pretty moot as a.) The world as a whole would likely be getting along better in terms of relationships and policy with such an administration so such behaviour from Macron wouldn't be necessary anyway; interests would already be aligned and b.) We'll never get to know beyond the theoretical because the Dems ran a historically shit campaign.
  7. North Korea

    Yep, that's right, the vast majority of the time it can't be proven. Therefore, if it can't be proven, then perhaps the consequences of war should be more carefully considered by everyone interested in keeping more people alive than not? That's a logical failing on their part, so I'm not sure those pointing that out are at fault here. Of course, your classic murderous dictator probably isn't going to do the maths either but history hasn't tended to be kind to them when they've started wars as they've tended to lose everything in pretty short order as a result. What you describe here is a pretty clear example of valuing emotionalism over logic when it comes to war, which is pretty commonplace tbh. In short, if you go to war based on no more than a guess of how things are going to turn out, expect to get fully and rightfully castigated by history if things go wrong. Evil (and good) for that matter are storybook concepts and quite frankly everyone's definition of them differs, but personally off put choosing a course of action that likely results in more death than would have if you hadn't done it being pretty evil. Though that's just me with my standpoint that there is nothing worse than death and YMMV. Do agree with the last paragraph, though - often the geopolitical situation can change very fast.
  8. President Trump & the USA

    Is there any evidence that what Macron has said to him etc has had a positive effect on his policy decisions? If there is, that would be good to see.
  9. North Korea

    Regarding the first question, sorry if I haven't been clear enough on that in the few previous posts here but I'll repeat myself once again here: I would consider military intervention in this case, as in others, when it is clearly and unequivocally shown beforehand that the casualties of action will be lower than that of inaction in the long term (such as with WWII, though some numbers would need to be crunched even in that one). And again, if anyone has such to show me, I would happily consider that argument. So far there has been a lot of talk about pacifism and dialogue not being the right answer ultimately here, but precious little actual evidence to show that military intervention would save more lives than it took, even long term. Going to war on a guess that it won't dissolve into a bloodbath is folly of the highest order. The ends - in terms of human life - have to be shown to justify the means beforehand. Regarding the second paragraph, again I apologise for any lack of clarity but my point was that Trident wasn't useful as a deterrent for the UK as no nation now or in the future would want to launch at the UK alone and launching at the UK would be merely one of the moves in a game that would end with everyone losing. It's not like the UK is isolated in the international security community, is it? States with no dedicated allies among the big boys (whatever alignment) that have the ire of one of those big boys...they have deterrent value for them. Not sure the UK will ever fall into that category, though who knows what the future holds?
  10. North Korea

    Judging by commentary in various places I'm not entirely sure about that one but yes, he seems to be open to have a talk with now so we'll see what comes about because of it. I would posit however that continuing with the strongarm approach at the negotiating table would be the quickest way to get the NK's to withdraw and so lead nowhere, however. Sort of see what you mean here but an argument could be made that even though the USSR and China could be relied upon in the past, now that neither Russia nor China could be relied upon to step in if trouble started the NK's would need their own guarantor of reasonably costly defence - and nuclear weaponry is the logical answer to that.
  11. North Korea

    If what comes out of this is a peaceful solution that opens NK up to the world then Trump should gain some of the credit for it as he was involved - my views on him are pretty clear but (again as I've said before) what's important is the result here. Regarding the first sentence - again I'm repeating myself here, but if someone shows me a solution that saves more lives in the long term than that then I'm happy to consider it, up to and including some kind of military intervention. I'm not interested in ideological BS or picking sides on this one - that NK opens up with minimal loss of life and SK continues to function with minimal loss of life there too is my sole interest, and however and whoever brings that about has done their job in my own opinion. I do wish that folks would quit going on about how terrible the situation is and how terrible *insert party here* is within the matter and instead talk about making it right.
  12. I would hope that those who fought in those wars did so for the chance that those who followed them wouldn't have to face the horrors they did; so with that in mind I'd take the more "mundane" stressors of modern life any day of the week. Rather have them stressing out and seeking help over the latest mobile update than wondering if the guy right next to them or themselves are going to get blown to bits. As for the topic itself, Maths and Physics - already did for a time.
  13. North Korea

    I'm not entirely sold on the sanctions either, as they haven't been effective in their objective (which I would assume would be a governmental change there) up until now; unless what is happening now is a result of them(?) Allow me to be abundantly clear to save any chance of misrepresentation here: the sooner NK becomes a democratic state, the better. That it is done with minimal loss of life is still more important. At this time, the solution I personally think will achieve this with the least loss of life is by rapprochement and opening to trade, resulting in political pressure that results in a regime change from within over time. If someone else has a different solution that they can clearly show would get the job done with less blood on the floor, then I'd be all ears. But I have zero time for those - both here and elsewhere who actually have influence in the situation and should know better - simply telling everyone what everyone already knows on this one and not offering a good way to deal with it - it's arguing in bad faith.
  14. President Trump & the USA

    I honestly don't think Macron is doing us all a favour - he might be trying to but it isn't working IMO, unless there's stuff going on behind the scenes that no one knows about. As a result, I'm not big on the angle being shown on this one either. FWIW I would think that Trump is perhaps better company than some in his administration; I daresay those with power and influence enjoy being around those with like power and influence. I think I've said before that my real issue isn't necessarily with him (for all the times he puts his foot in it on Twitter and all) but those his victory has enabled elsewhere who are perhaps smarter and definitely more malicious in their desire to exert power over those they consider lesser. Pretty much any Repub winner would have had the same result, with the possible exception of Kasich.
  15. North Korea

    Good grief, and I thought I laid on the sanctimony at times. I would hope, at least, that the vast majority of contributors on here would like to see NK freed up and become more open, democratic and free. I am however yet to hear a solution that guarantees this from those who "take the side of an elected president of a democracy, under the rule of law against murderous dictator of an oppressive police state" that doesn't involve war as a spectator sport and costing many, many more lives than it saves. If folks have a sanction-based solution that works, then say why. If folks have a war-based solution that they think works (eg. saving more lives in the long run than it takes) then say why. Until then, people can bleat about the inhumanity (and yes, blowing one of your party to smithereens with an AA gun is inhuman) all they like but they're doing nothing more morally for the people of NK than anyone else.